The Six Shooter brought James Stewart to the NBC microphone on September 20, 1953, in a fine series of folksy Western adventures.
Stewart was never better on the air than in this drama of Britt Ponset, frontier drifter created by Frank Burt. The epigraph set it up nicely: "The man in the saddle is angular and long-legged: his skin is sun dyed brown. The gun in his holster is gray steel and rainbow mother-of-pearl. People call them both The Six Shooter." Ponset was a wanderer, an easy-going gentleman and -- when he had to be -- a gunfighter.
Stewart was right in character as the slow-talking maverick who usually blundered into other people's troubles and sometimes shot his way out. His experiences were broad, but The Six Shooter leaned more to comedy than other shows of its kind. Ponset took time out to play Hamlet with a crude road company. He ran for mayor and sheriff of the same town at the same time. He became involved in a delighful Western version of Cinderella, complete with grouchy stepmother, ugly sisters, and a shoe that didn't fit. And at Christmas he told a young runaway the story of A Christmas Carol, Substituting the original Dickens characters with Western heavies. Britt even had time to fall in love, but it was the age-old story of people from different worlds, and the romance was foredoomed despite their valiant efforts to save it.
So we got a cowboy-into-the-sunset ending for this series, truly one of the bright spots of radio. Unfortunately, it came too late, and lasted only one season.
It was a transcribed show, sustained by NBC and directed by Jack Johnstone. Basil Adlam provided the music and Frank Burt wrote the scripts. Hal Gibney announced.
Information from John Dunning’s "Tune In Yesterday The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio".
NOTE: Updated MP3s with Version 5 files (25-Feb-2011).
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December 12, 2017 Subject:
Good audio, entertaining stories and Jimmy Stewart make every episode like a story from a favorite uncle or best friend.
August 9, 2017 Subject:
I see that a couple people say that JS is not a good actor and messes up lines, talks over people, etc. And THAT'S one of the reasons that this show is so great. I would rate Gunsmoke #1 and this #2 and Have Gun, Will travel #3, and Frontier Gentleman #4 with John Dehner. Just wonderful radio westerns that are great listening.
February 2, 2017 Subject:
Floyd D. Barber
Above is the proper spelling when the subject of Howard McNear comes up! . . . Ya know, the more series I listen to, the more good old Floyd shows up! He's in a LOT of "The Lineup" episodes, which I found to be a pretty good cop show, too. I just heard Floyd in an Escape episode.
January 18, 2017 Subject:
Great, Classic Voices in a great show.
Yes, hoka-hey, Floyd the Barber, (Howard McNear) was in several episodes. If you listen carefully you can hear a few more famous voices, for instance, Parley Baer--who played the Mayor in The Andy Griffith Show--also appears in several episodes. William Conrad appears occasionally, too. He is perhaps best known to television viewers as Cannon, but also seen in Jake and the Fat Man, and he had a small stint in the 80s as Nero Wolfe. (Of course, to classic radio buffs he is probably best known as Marshall Matt Dillon in the radio version of Gunsmoke.)
I am so glad that James Stewart and Frank Burt came together to bring us this show. Unfortunately, it came at a time when sponsors had turned to investing less in radio and more in television. But we are fortunate that the recordings survive.
January 7, 2017 Subject:
Floyd the barber
I'd swear the character Floyd, the barber in the Andy Griffith Show, is in Ep 17
If you're looking for Shakespearean level performances why are you looking at a program entitled The Six Shooter? I suggest the uptight critics choose other venues for entertainment and stop listening to these programs.
We fans of the laid back storyteller version of the west, come here to relax and feel the family atmosphere of being around a campfire. The stories are fun, creative and even clever. They strive to teach something in each episode. Good old fashioned radio. I love it.
June 28, 2015 Subject:
Amazing Radio Series
I remember as a kid my elders telling me how they loved using their imaginations while listening to radio programs like The Six Shooter. What I didn't understand at the time was how great writing and great acting can totally immerse you in a story. I have listened to several episodes of The Six Shooter and each time have been totally immersed in the story and able to visualize all of the action with ease. It would be hard to find a radio series that equals this in quality, although Gunsmoke comes close.
January 14, 2014 Subject:
Six Shooter worth SIX stars - A True "Mother of Pearl"
This series is a gem - crafted as beautifully as that mother-of-pearl handle! ... I am totally charmed,thrilled, engaged and fully entertained by the slow talking, wise and witty character portrayed by that outstanding straight, believable and lovable film star Jimmy Stewart. His very unique rather high pitched and purely early American Western voice sounds like the real thing: a lonely but beloved hard working, virtuous and strong man of courage, wisdom, dignity and plain likeability. The timeless scripts by Mr. Burt are filed with wonderful character development, sometimes surprising plots,irony, humor and a nice dose of insight into basic human nature. I love this series so much that I joined Archive.org just so that I could write this review. As others here have lamented it's a real shame that a lot more episodes were not created. For my money the Six Shooter represents the highest quality ever achieved during the golden age of the sorely missed and virtually extinct medium of Old Time Radio drama - For the most part today's young audiences wouldn't even be willing to give these old chestnuts the time of day. Alas, they have no idea about the treasures and pleasures they are missing. Kudos and great appreciation to Archive.org for making these programs available. I wonder if someone could contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if there is a Jimmy Stewart fan club I could join.
March 8, 2013 Subject:
One of my favs
I just glanced at the photo from the show. Odd that they show JS with a rifle instead of the gun that defines the show.
January 5, 2013 Subject:
A Really Good Show
The Six Shooter's writers never tried to do more than could be done in half an hour with time out for commercials etc. Some of the scripts approach Gunsmoke. Obviously, I like it quite a lot.
January 5, 2013 Subject:
Variable Big Star Series
This show was written to exploit and bolster the carefully established Jimmy Stewart persona, not deconstruct it a la Hitchcock, or dwell in its dark side, a la Anthony Mann. Folks coming to this show from a viewing of Vertigo or Bend of the River are going to be disapointed. Stewart is in full gosh, aw shucks stammer throughout this series, and we almost never see his capacity for anger in these shows.
That said, a number of thse shows make good use of their big star, and this show dares to go offbeat in directions that other adult westerns dare not tread. Yes sir, JS has to take on girls tryin to marry him, a little boy who has turned away from Christmas, a Cinderella story, a production of Hamlet, and a maiden aunt who wants to keep house for him. Most of this is handled rather gently, and things can get bland from time to time.
But, fortunately, JS is playing someone who is good with a gun, and a few of the episodes get dark. In these cases, the mood isn't noir bleakness, but a leisurely melancholy that is effective in its own way. (The best episode involves a woman who insists her husband is alive, even though he was reported dead in an indian war. That episode resembles the best of Gunsmoke, and even sees JS finally losing his temper in a way enthusiasts of the Anthony Mann westerns will recognize.)
This is a good series -- but expect the JS of Destry Rides Again, not the fellow in all those 50s movies.
February 8, 2012 Subject:
An angular and long-legged review
This series is well written, and Jimmy Stewart proves his greatness as an actor on any medium. His delivery is comical, akward, and convincing. People who wish to listen to this as a Western Series will be disappointed. I think I recall one gunfight in the whole series. "Western" is used more as a backdrop for the stories than a genre.
August 25, 2011 Subject:
This is an excellent radio western and Jimmy Stewart is fantastic. This has quickly become one of my favorite radio shows, right behind "The Lone Ranger." The only complaint, as others have mentioned, is that it didn't last longer.
July 16, 2011 Subject:
Yes the recordings are great .But the plots and acting are BLAND . This wasn't canceled because of TV It was bad writing . Jimmies stammering does not make great radio
January 10, 2011 Subject:
I'm not a big fan of radio westerns reasons that I can't quite explain, but this show has found a permanent home on my MP3 player. This is just a quality series with good sound and a fine collection of characters and stories that are often well outside the cliches.
Reviewer:Back To The 80s
January 9, 2011 Subject:
This show lasted one year because the producers of the program wanted to bring on a cigarette sponsor for season two. James Stewart refused to allow this because of the faithful younger audience he had and said he would not star in the show if it was promoting tobacco products. Knowing they couldn't find anyone to replace Stewart's roll in the Six Shooter, they canceled the show. One of the best series PERIOD!
August 27, 2010 Subject:
Well that's a relief!
i'm almost out of Gunsmokes, and i've tried show after show, (and i've been through Johnny Dollar and Nightbeat).....and it turns out Gunsmoke is a hard act fo follow. But Six Shooter is pretty good; though the sound effects are not as incredible as on Gunsmoke, the first Six Shooter did something i'm not sure ANY Gunsmoke ever did: the ending actually suprised me!
May 6, 2010 Subject:
Quite Possibly The Best Radio Show Ever
I've been listening to old time radio since I first discovered it on the KNX Drama Hour when I was a child. Of all the different shows they aired I always looked forward to the Six Shooter more than the rest. Even today I enjoy is as much as when I was a youngster. The stories are excellent, the acting superb. I agree the show seems to be written for James Stewart, the role and the actor fit like a glove. I'm only giving it five stars because I can't give it more!
May 5, 2010 Subject:
quality show and recordings but so so acting
If you like James Stewart, then you'll like this show. It's has quality effects and the preservation of the recordings are outstanding. The acting isn't very good though. Especially with a big name actor like James Stewart. Actors would constantly stumble over their lines, or talk over each other. James Stewart being the worst of them all. You'd think the star would hold the show together, but not in this case. The support actors are more authentic with better lead ins. Overall, it's a good show. But it's an example of how a big name actor can bring down a show.
October 20, 2009 Subject:
Wish there were more.
It's a true pity that TV and the times doomed this series to just one season. Listening to the episodes makes one wish they'd started years earlier so we'd have more of them to enjoy today.
September 8, 2009 Subject:
Top Tier of Western Entertainment
Great show!! Ranks up there with the great mature westerns such as Gunsmoke, Fort Laramie, HGWT, and Frontier Gentleman.
May 7, 2009 Subject:
James Stewart - A Golden Legend
September 27, 2008 Subject:
Wish there were more!
August 19, 2008 Subject:
I love the writing, acting, and producing of this series! It is my all time favorite OTR Western series. Jimmy Stewart gives an impressive acting tour-de-force throughout. I just wish there were more episodes, but I'm happy with what we have. A must for western and Stewart fans.
July 21, 2008 Subject:
"Now see here..."
What a rare gem
Stewart is perfect as Ponset, the almost reluctant hero, and the stories range from more typical Western fare (outlaws, crooked sheriffs) to more unusual morality plays.
Wonderful for a lazy afternoon.
December 18, 2007 Subject:
the six shooter the as good as radio shows get
Jimmy Stewart has got to be one of the all time best actors of his time. This program seems to be writen with his talents in mind. The scripts fit his style of acting and speech as a hand made pair of boots would fit a person. I have lost counts of the times I have listened to this series and I still return when I want a quiet mood show to listen to. The world lost a great way of experincing a show when radio stoped this type of broadcast. Since finding these programs my TV has gotten a lot of rest. if you want to be enterained in a special way this is one of the shows to listen to.